Expressive arts therapy, such as process painting, serves as a bridge between the conscious and unconscious mind.
Its primary focus is to shed light on blocked or stagnant areas in therapy. By emphasizing the creative process rather than just verbal communication, it unveils new insights or meanings that traditional talk therapy might not uncover.
The best thing about them is that they’re suitable for people of almost any age, as it has the core potential to improve your —
- Cognitive, and
- Physical wellness.
You wouldn’t need artistic talent, but within this therapy, various methods intensify and enrich the experience — especially for an emotionally troubled woman.
But what is a process painting group?
How do they operate?
What are the positives they can have on you?
We have answered all of these questions elaborately through this article. So, without any further ado, let’s get started with the same right away.
What is Process Painting?
“Process painting” is all about focusing more on how you paint rather than just the final picture.
Instead of caring a lot about being really good or making something perfect, it’s about enjoying the act of painting itself. In this approach, the canvas works like a playground for expressing yourself without worrying about being skilled or getting a perfect result.
Process painting sets you free from the stress of being perfect, or meeting set rules. Instead, it’s about enjoying making art without worrying about how good it looks.
You let your feelings and ideas guide your painting without judging yourself. It’s like a journey where each stroke and color helps you explore your thoughts and emotions.
While this type of mindful activity can be done alone, doing it with a group of people can boost its benefits even more. Move on to the next section to learn more about it.
The Benefits of Process Painting
Process painting can open a new window of spark and mindfulness in your mind and assist you in thinking better or more efficiently. Let’s keep reading to know more about it.
1: It Can Encourage Your Unfolding Unconscious
When people use creative activities like painting, dancing, or making sculptures, hidden thoughts and feelings can surface without them realizing it. Unlike just talking about things, these activities help bring out stuff that might otherwise stay hidden.
For example, looking at a picture might remind someone of a forgotten memory, or making a mask might help someone understand a new side of themselves.
Whether someone uses the art materials or their own abilities like singing or moving, these activities help bring out thoughts and feelings that might be hard to explain with words.
2: It Creates a Line of Communication between You and Your Therapist
Expressive arts therapy helps people communicate deeply, both in what they say and what they create. When someone expresses themselves through art or movement, it mostly brings out new emotions and thoughts. For instance, making a dance piece might bring up unexpected feelings that can then be talked about with a therapist.
The art itself, like a painting representing grief, can add more layers of meaning and become a starting point for a conversation about the colors, lines, and symbols used.
3: Helps You Get Control Over Yourself and the Therapeutic Process
Creating a physical representation of your thoughts or emotions can help you feel more in control. For instance, drawing how you feel something can reveal things you might not realize consciously. It also lets you step back and observe your feelings from a distance, which can be really helpful, especially with tough memories.
Like watching a movie, talking about your experience as an observer can help you detach from any painful feelings at the moment.
4: It May Give a Spark to Your Therapy
Expressive arts therapy helps people imagine and discover new things. It’s like a lightbulb moment where you find something new or understand something in a different way.
It can help you get unstuck, uncover hidden feelings, and understand the past better. It gives you a new way to express yourself, especially when words don’t capture what you’re going through.
5: It Can Support Integrative Learning
Encouraging people to explore unknown knowledge within themselves is usually boosted by experiencing things through different senses. When we combine these experiences, they create new thoughts, feelings, and images that we wouldn’t typically have.
For instance, asking someone to focus on the sounds around them can lead to uncovering emotions or sensations they hadn’t noticed before, like hidden pain.
Process Painting – The Procedure
Process painting, as a therapeutic procedure, usually follows a set of rules or steps. We’ve given a glimpse of the same here. However, if you want to know more about it, be sure to join one of the process painting groups. This will give you a practical experience of the same.
1: Set the Space for Process Painting
Setting up the right environment is essential for the painting process. A calm, brightly lit area with enough space to move around enables artists to completely engage in the creative process.
Supplies like acrylic or tempera paints, different brush sizes, canvas, paper, and other preferred tools are arranged, encouraging free exploration without constraints.
2: Begin without Any Expectation
Individuals start by selecting a color or dipping a brush into the palette without predetermined notions. Once the brush touches the canvas or surface, the painting journey begins.
The focus, in general, is on embracing the present, enabling colors to mix freely, and allowing organic shapes and forms to take shape spontaneously.
3: Embracing the Flow
During the painting session, people engage with the artwork as it develops, trying out different colors, strokes, and techniques to explore textures and dimensions. They prioritize the creative process over the final outcome, embracing a free-flowing approach without criticism.